Monday, August 18, 2008

Blueberry Buttermilk (Yeah Buttermilk!) Panna Cotta

Whoever came up with the idea of letting the common man onto a farm to pick fruits must have been a genius. Pratik and I had been fascinated by the idea of picking berries on a farm for a while, but had never actually got a chance to try it out. So when we made a trip to Canada this summer to visit my aunt, we were delighted when she asked whether we wanted to go strawberry picking. In that excitement, I remember letting out a brief shriek, confusing my aunt about whether I was really excited about the idea or whether it sounded so disgusting that I was in some sort of panic mode. It was hysterical. Anyway, things were sorted out and we jetted off to one of the farms close to her home.

It was an awesome experience. We could pick what we wanted, eat what we picked and to top that, take home a basket full. All for just 5 bucks. Eating all the strawberries picked fresh off the farm on a beautiful summer day! What more could one want? The tartness of these fruits, along with their sweetness is what makes these summer fruits extra special!

Back from the trip, my memory still fresh from the lovely strawberry picking experience, I went looking for strawberries at our farmers market. I wanted to try out a strawberry panna cotta. As luck would have it, they didn't have any! However, the bluberries there looked fabulous. I picked some up with the idea that I would now make a blueberry panna cotta instead.

Like most of you know, panna cotta translates to 'cooked cream'. Given our calorie filled vacation though, I wanted to create a lighter, healthier version. So I experimented with using buttermilk instead of the cream. We absolutely loved the result and will definitely make this again!

As a completely random side, are any of you watching the basketball games at the Olympics? Chris Kaman, playing for Germany, summarized Team USA's performance absolutely perfectly after Germany got routed by them yesterday: "Nobody is going to beat them. No way, it's just not going to happen". Gotta love those guys! More on that later.

Here we go with the recipe:

Ingredients:

2 cups low fat buttermilk
1 cup milk (I used 2% fat but whole milk will be the best)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs sugar
1 tbs vanilla essence
1 tbs unflavored gelatin
2 tbs cold water
1/4 cup of fresh blueberries
1 tbs sugar for the blueberry puree
Mint sprigs (optional)
Few extra blueberries for topping (optional)

Method:

Grease 8 small ramekins with some oil.

Process the blueberries and 1 tbs of sugar in a food processor until smooth. If desired, strain this puree through a fine sieve.

Soak the gelatin in cold water.

Combine the first four ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring it to a slow simmer stirring continuously. Add the soaked gelatin in this mixture while whisking steadily. Add the blueberry puree and mix well.

Pour into the greased ramekins. Allow to cool outside for 10 minutes. Keep in the refrigerator overnight.

Serving:

To unmold, dip the ramekins in hot water for about 10 seconds and carefully flip on to a plate. Alternately, run a knife along the edges of the ramekins and then flip on to a plate. Top with mint sprigs and more blueberries if desired.

Note:

It is very important to stir the buttermilk continuously while simmering to prevent it from curdling. I have used buttermilk to keep the dessert healthy. You could use a combination of buttermilk, half & half; heavy cream (1 cup each).

Health Benefits:

Buttermilk is lower in fat and helps digestion. For more information click here.

Blueberries (or for that matter, berries in general) are packed with antioxidants, help in improving vision, protect against cancer, help protect the brain & promote gastrointestinal health. For more information click here.

32 comments:

dindintonight said...

Wow Poonam! The panna cotta look fabulous! Fruit, dessert, low-fat!!! What a great combination :-)Yum!!

OhioMom said...

This looks fabulous, love how you used buttermilk. Cool blog! I will be back to visit.

Anonymous said...

Lovely Panna Cotta! Like the idea of using the buttermilk..

Adam said...

Nice Panna Cotta! (whoops, might of sounded funny)

I love picking fresh berries and fruit myself too. There is something really cool about it.

I saw that basketball game at the gym, the US is on a whole other playing field. I'm super happy because the last few Olympics have not been something to be proud of.

Poonam said...

Thank you folks for all these nice words! I am happy that you liked the use of buttermilk here!

Adam: Go US! Wade is my fav!

Mints! said...

Good recipes!

There is something waiting for you on my Marathi Food Blog.

Bharti said...

Lovely panna cotta. Nice that it's low fat too.
We go blueberry picking once a summer at least. We have been strawberry picking once and I agree that they taste divine right there ,picked off the field!

katiez said...

That loooks gorgeous - and I love, love blueberries. I wonder if I could sub part yogurt and part milk for the buttermilk... Hmmmmm...

Poonam said...

Mints--I was over at your blog! It is fantastic.

Bharti--I loved those strawberries too, right off the plants!

Katiez--Yogurt sounds interesting!

Shreya said...

This truly rocks! Love the picture. yum:-)

Jeena said...

This looks lovely and I love blueberries yummy!

Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow looks awesome. Blueberry and buttermilk sounds gr8.

Dee said...

I love panna cotta, but gelatin scares me a little. It always turns out gloopy, and then I sieve, and then there's the mess... But the blueberries in these, whoa! Love them. Maybe it's time to get over the fear...

Poonam said...

Hey friends, thanks you very much!

Dee-- Use a whisk when you mix gelatin and it takes away the lumps!! Try it!

Tanya said...

Wow, it looks beautiful! You have a great blog, so happy I found it.

Thanks so much for stopping by mine!

Alexa said...

This looks wonderful, very light and fruity. What a great way to use up your berries and end a Summer meal.

Prudy said...

What a great blog and a gorgeous post. I can't decide which one I want more-your panna cotta or your gratin down below. They both look wonderful.

Lori Lynn said...

Panna Cotta, one of my all time favs. Yours looks excellent, especially liking buttermilk idea.

I agree - it's great watching the Olympics!

Kitchen Flavours said...

There is a suprise for you in my blog. Click here to know what the suprise is, http://kitchenflavours.blogspot.com/2008/07/fruit-chaat.html

Mike of Mike's Table said...

That panna cotta looks beautiful. I bet the buttermilk gave it a great tang.

Maria said...

I love panna cotta! I have never tried a blueberry version..but I will soon! Thanks!

maybelle's mom said...

yum. i adore every ingredient.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

That lighter version of panacotta sure sounds and looks good!
I would love to have that experience picking berries in a farm! It sounds really fun!

Ann said...

Lovely dessert-- and I adore buttermilk. Will definitely be trying this.

Poonam said...

Oh! I am so happy to know that you loved this buttermilk panna cotta! And yep! the buttermilk cut the calories down, making it more healthier and also gave it the perfect tang!

Sunshinemom said...

No blueberries for us! I have been wondering whether jamuns will work instead! Any ideas?

Kevin said...

This blueberry panna cotta sounds great!

Swati said...

Hey Poonam, the panna cotta looks and sounds so delicious.. Using buttermilk creates a fab low cal dessert...
I'd love to go picking fruits some day ..You made it sound so so good!!

Haley said...

We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email haleyglasco@gmail.com if interested. Thanks :)

Haley

http://blog.keyingredient.com/

Rosie said...

Mmmmmm wonderful looking panna cotta!!

Rosie x

Vera said...

Isn't it wonderful when you can have both at once - tasty and healthy dessert. I love buttermilk panna cotta, as well as everything buttermilk :)
Poonam, your dessert looks delicious!

Ankita said...

Amazing.Its so mouthwatering.